Matlosana CFO in another R3m fraud payment

The chief financial officer of Matlosana Local Municipality bypassed the municipal manager and approved a fraudulent payment to a company that did not deliver the goods. Picture: Supplied.

The chief financial officer of Matlosana Local Municipality bypassed the municipal manager and approved a fraudulent payment to a company that did not deliver the goods. Picture: Supplied.

Published Apr 7, 2024


In what appears to be a deliberate act of disregard for the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA), Matlosana municipality CFO Mercy Phetla paid Variegated PTY Ltd almost R3 million for electrical equipment without the knowledge nor approval of the municipal manager, as per the requirement of section 79 of the MFMA.

Section 79 of the MFMA provides for the Accounting Officer to develop a system of delegations which the Supply Chain Management Regulation. Regulations 4 and 5 provide content to the Act.

Regulation 12 provides for the procurement threshold delegations of which sub-regulation 2 of Regulation 12 provides a limitation to all the procurement thresholds mentioned in sub-regulation meaning all procurement between R30 000 and R200 000 must be signed for and approved by the senior managers, including the CFO, and all procurement above R200 000 must be approved by the accounting officer who is the municipal manager.

On January 5, 2024, Phetla signed and approved the electrical equipment Purchase Requisition that contained the names and signatures of requisition official T Lebelo, director/delegated official MJ Tsimone, and supply chain official Nyakallo.

On January 9, 2024, the municipality made a purchase order to Variegated Pty Ltd for electrical equipment worth R2.9million through the municipality’s buying officer.

The following day on January 10, 2024, the municipality’s acting store buyer and controller Mamatebisi Josephine Tsimane claimed in a document to have received the goods from Variegated Pty Ltd company.

On the same day of January 10, the Variegated Pty Ltd company submitted an invoice for payment to the municipality which was then approved by Phetla and paid on the same day at 15h45.

Owner and Director of the Variegated Pty Ltd Tiisetso Sebetlele. Picture: Supplied.

The approval and payment of this figure was in breach of the National Treasury’s regulations as the purchase above R200 000 was done by CFO Phetla including the acting store buyer and acting supply chain manager (SCM) without the approval of the Accounting Officer Lesego Seametsa (municipal manager) as empowered by the legislations mentioned above.

A source with intimate knowledge of the transaction told the publication that Variegated Pty Ltd never delivered the goods to the municipality.

“Over and above the goods, were not delivered and the service provider cannot provide proof of purchase of goods from where the goods were purchased. It simply was impossible to deliver some of the goods immediately or within five days, as the goods were assembled outside South Africa,” said the source.

Another source said that: “According to the new SCM regulations, the threshold has increased.

“Regulation 16 of the same says the municipality may not increase but can reduce the amount. The SCM manager and CFO should have written an item to the council through the municipal manager to increase the threshold of the delegation of power from R200 000 for the departmental head to R350 000.

“They failed to do so, meaning the old delegation threshold is a criminal matter. Variegated Pty Ltd will be required to provide proof of where the items of the same order were brought to prove that this was not a ghost delivery.”

“What makes matters worse is that the official who started the transaction should have been aware and stopped the transaction in terms of section 32 of the MFMA, including the head of the department, but they continued with an Irregular transaction,” said the second source, who did not want their name published for fear of victimisation.

Contacted for comment, Phetla did not respond to questions from the Sunday Independent.

The municipality’s head of communications Ntswaki Makgetha said she would follow up so that those implicated respond to the publication but no response was received.

Acting Store Buyer and Controller Mamatebisi Josephine Tsimane who claimed to have received the goods did not respond to our questions about the purchase.

Questions were also sent to the municipal manager but no response was delivered by the time of the publication.

On February 28 and again on April 5, the publication made various attempts to get a comment from Tiisetso Sebetlele who is the owner of Variegated Pty Ltd, but Sebetlela never responded.

This is not the only suspicious tender transaction Phela is being probed for. She and two employees of GMHM Construction, Matshepiso Mothelesane, 39, and Nomthandazo Mokasule, 49, are facing corruption charges after it emerged that Phetla received a bribe in the form of a car worth R1.4 million in exchange for a service delivery tender for GMHM Construction and Projects, a company conducting business with the municipality.

The trio are currently out on R35 000 bail each. Phetla’s co-accused are Masego Mokasule (23), the son of Phetla’s co-accused number three Nomthandazo Mokasule, who is alleged to have paid millions to Phetla in exchange for tenders in the Matlosana municipality.

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